A Public Faith

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My book recommendation: A Public Faith: How Followers of Christ Should Serve the Common Good by Miroslav Volf (Brazos Press)

We are the first generation in Western culture that is facing the real prospect of living in a statist society. Although there are many faiths under the roof of our pluralistic house, it is becoming rather clear with each passing year that the one approved faith is acceptance of the rule of the mother state. In this very clear and readable treatment of both the problem we Christian believers have and some real solutions, Volf lays down a path every one of us needs to seriously consider before we are forced to be totally isolated from society around us.

We do have more than just the two choices of put up or shut up, which was a great encouragement to me personally. He also is not bashful to put forth in strong terms that our Christianity is going to have to become REAL and GENUINE displaying real love and all its fruits before a shattered world. The author makes it very clear that fake Churchanity will not cut it any longer, and so-called Christian politics as it has been attempted in the past is a waste of both time and resources. He implores us as solid believers to wisely but actually engage our multi-faith society and pluralistic world on every front, not in order to achieve some kind of numerical success, but to have the world out there actually see what God is like through our engagement. Volf begs us not to retreat into a privatized faith because of past failures, but to work for the common good and the glory of God in all things.

Covenant Seminary has made this required reading for all their Dr. Ministry candidates and I can certainly see why. This 174 page book needs to be read by all of us on the front lines of ministry today. I think the reason is obvious, brothers and sisters in leadership. If we who lead in local congregational leadership do not know quite what to say out in a society which is totally strange to our upbringing, how will we train those under our care to speak freely the things of God out in their lives in the same upside down society and culture they face daily?

Finally, maybe a basic question is in order: Is the reality as dark as the author seems to think where we really are facing a society where the state will call all the shots, or are we simply in one of those depressingly dark but temporary setbacks of religious freedom? 

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